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MxMo August 2010: Brown, Bitter, and Stirred


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 03:12 PM

For a good while now, Paul Clarke over at Cocktail Chronicles has been organizing a monthly online cocktail event he calls Mixology Mondays:

Mixology Monday is a monthly online cocktail party. Since launching in April 2006, Mixology Monday has attracted scores of participating bloggers and thousands of curious readers, all coming together on a monthly basis to share drink recipes and related information in a friendly online environment.

The process is quite simple: each month, a host, working with the moderator, selects a theme for the upcoming event, which is announced on various blogs and forums (including this one), and on or before the event date (a Monday — hence the name), participating bloggers join the party by posting a drink recipe or other post related to the theme. Each participant notifies the host that they’ve joined in, and soon after the event, the host posts a roundup, listing each participant.


The next MxMo takes place Monday, August 30, hosted by Lush Life Production's Lindsey Johnson. She'll host the event at her blog, Brown, Bitter and Stirred, which she's selected as her theme:

While punches, sours and flips are essential parts of every cocktail fiend’s drinking diet, perhaps no other style of drink is as dear to our booze-loving hearts as those potent mixtures of aged spirits, amari, aromatized wines and liqueurs, sometimes (sometimes? Almost always!) doctored with a dash or four from the bitters shelf.

This MxMo will celebrate these styles of drink; whether it’s a basic Manhattan with a tinkered touch of Averna, or a revolutionary mixture of tequila, Campari and pure adrenaline, mix up your favorite brown-booze cocktail and put the details (and a photo) on your blog by the end of Monday, August 30. Let Lindsey know you’ve participated — her announcement post will be up soon with contact details — and then sit back and see what your fellow cocktail fans have come up with in the days to come.


I'll email everything posted here by Monday, August 30 at midnight to Lindsey. Given the bitter-lovin' crowd around here, I'm sure we've got a lot of ideas!
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#2 Chris Amirault

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 04:39 PM

I'll start. I've been fiddling around with this and think that I've finally got the proportions right. Subbed out the Licor 43 for a lot less Grand Marnier, the orange twist for a lemon twist, and a combination of Regan's and Angostura for Fee's OF bitters. It's brown, it's bitter, and I stirred it.

The drink is named after Max von Sydow's character in "Three Days of the Condor," a Scandinavian guy with a French name whacking a bunch of Americans with style.

Joubert Cocktail

Posted Image

2 oz Rittenhouse rye
1/2 oz Suze
1/2 oz Aalborg Jubilaeums akvavit
dash Regan's orange bitters
dash Angostura bitters
dash Grand Marnier

Stir; up; lemon twist.
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#3 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 06:04 PM

This theme is right up my alley. I wrote about this drink in the "Drinks!" thread recently, and am quite proud (and fond) of it.

I started with a bitter amaro base, added a brown spirit, and then added some more bitters.


IMG_5399sm.JPG


The North Star Cocktail

(Build over ice in rocks glass in this order)

2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Flor de Cana Gold Rum
5 drops Angostura Orange Bitters

(Swirl or stir gently)

What defines this drink for me is the strong scent of the orange bitters so you may want to add the bitters after you stir, so that they remain on top.

Enjoy!

#4 KD1191

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 03:57 PM

My favorite bitter, brown & stirred drink is the Creole Cocktail of Savoy fame...

1.5 oz Rye*
1.5 oz Punt e Mes
1/8 oz Benedictine
1/8 oz Amer Picon**

Stir, Strain, Lemon Peel (not pictured)...also generally served up, but I was feeling contrarian.

IMG_4384.jpg

*I used Sazerac here, but it's better with Rittenhouse. I was making a double so that I could convert those 1/8s into 1/4s, and 3 ounces of 100 proof whiskey before dinner didn't seem like a good idea...
**Chris (or anyone else with a bottle of Suze), I've been playing around more with trying to approximate Amer Picon with more readily available ingredients, and I'll be damned if Gentian liqueur + orange bitters doesn't come REAL close...
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#5 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 04:51 PM

Interesting.... My bottle of Amer Picon is more caramel-y than Suze + bitters, but perhaps I'm missing something.

More in a sec; uploading pix of tonight's bitterfest.
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#6 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 05:33 PM

I am a big fan of the Rogue cocktail book, discussed at length here. The book has a number of very bitter cocktails, which suit my taste very nicely (and make others cringe, to be fair). One of the features of the book is the inclusion of large doses of Angostura and Peychaud's, using them more like, say, Fernet than a dashed bitters.

I thought I'd give that a try with this drink. Like those Rogue drinks, it's not for anyone looking for something cuddly. A bit formal, a bit scruffy, sort of like, say, the collared peccary native to Trinidad, known there by a more colloquial name:

Quenk Cocktail

DSC00013.JPG

1 oz Plantation 1991 Trinidad rum
1 oz Appleton Reserve
1/2 oz (homemade) pimento dram
1 tsp Angostura bitters
1 tsp Taylor's falernum
1 tsp Cruzan blackstrap rum

Stir; strain onto a big, clear rock. No garnish. Let that ice melt.
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#7 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:42 PM

Dan, your North Star Cocktail intrigued me:

2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Flor de Cana Gold Rum
5 drops Angostura Orange Bitters


I had some Presidente brandy that I needed to finish off, and I'm enjoying playing with a bottle of Scrappy's grapefruit bitters, so:

2 oz Cynar
1 oz Presidente brandy
dash Scrappy's grapefruit bitters

Yum. The Cynar/grapefruit combo is delicious.
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#8 Dave the Cook

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 07:22 PM

Quenk Cocktail

DSC00013.JPG

1 oz Plantation 1991 Trinidad rum
1 oz Appleton Reserve
1/2 oz (homemade) pimento dram
1 tsp Angostura bitters
1 tsp Taylor's falernum
1 tsp Cruzan blackstrap rum

Stir; strain onto a big, clear rock. No garnish. Let that ice melt.

Any hints on a substitute for the Plantation? I've got a variety of rums, but not that one.

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#9 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 07:27 PM

Either an aged rhum agricole or something Jamaican. You could double up the Appleton.
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#10 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:10 PM

Dan, your North Star Cocktail intrigued me:

...

I had some Presidente brandy that I needed to finish off, and I'm enjoying playing with a bottle of Scrappy's grapefruit bitters, so:

2 oz Cynar
1 oz Presidente brandy
dash Scrappy's grapefruit bitters

Yum. The Cynar/grapefruit combo is delicious.


Thanks, Chris.

I need to get me some grapefruit bitters. Your variation sounds yummy.

(Do try it with the Angostura Orange, though, if you get a chance. I love my Ango Orange almost as much as my Cynar)

Dan

#11 syoung68

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 03:00 PM

I too posted something just the other day in the drinks thread.... I got a bottle of Amaro Meletti and started playing around with variations of other cocktails and came up with the following.

1.5 oz Sazerac Rye
1.0 oz Amara Meletti
0.5 oz Campari
0.5 oz Dubonet Rouge

Build in a rocks glass (I am too lazy to chill then strain onto fresh ice) and garnish with a lemon twist.


It has no name and I am open to suggested tweaks. It is pretty tasty as is though.

#12 haresfur

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:54 AM

This was a great opportunity for me to try to work out something using Inner Circle Rum. So this is loosely based on a Toronto cocktail. Since Toronto seems to be a non-sequitur I figured I'd call this:

the Auckland

1 oz Inner Circle Red rum
1 oz brandy
3 teaspoons Fernet
1 teaspoon 1:1 simple syrup
about 3 good dashes Fees aromatic bitters
about 3 good dashes Regans orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain

float of your favorite rum on top (for lack of anything better I used Captain Morgan's Dark, but please don't hold that against me.)

I suppose the non-metric units are out of place, too.

P8250008.JPG
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#13 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 05:10 AM

Looks tasty! The Toronto is a great base for fiddling. I shared this riff in a Daily Gullet article on the subject titled "Bitter."

Corktown Cocktail

2 oz rye (Rittenhouse 100, if you've got it)
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 2:1 demerara syrup
dash orange bitters (Regan's No. 6 is good here)
dash Angostura bitters

Stir and strain -- and since you're capitulating with the Cointreau, you certainly should twist, rim, and drop an orange peel.


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#14 EvergreenDan

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 05:10 PM

Last night I tried:

1oz Rum (I used gold; nothing too sweet)
1oz Luxardo Abano Amaro
1oz Cynar
1/2 oz Lemon

Loved it. The Abano has black pepper flavors. I also tried it with Sazarac Rye, and I liked it better, but my wife liked it less. Might try Batavia Arrack next.

Tonight:

1 oz Black Balsams
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Lemon
2 dash Lemon Bitter (Bitter Truth)

Lemony and bitter. The Black Balsams straight has a coffee flavor that I don't care for, but when mixed and soured that drops to the background. Careful: it's 45% ABV.
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#15 MikeInSacto

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:34 PM

Dan, your North Star Cocktail intrigued me:


I had some Presidente brandy that I needed to finish off, and I'm enjoying playing with a bottle of Scrappy's grapefruit bitters, so:

2 oz Cynar
1 oz Presidente brandy
dash Scrappy's grapefruit bitters

Yum. The Cynar/grapefruit combo is delicious.


I couldn't quite wrap my brain around this one, so I thought I'd try a variant with what I had on hand. Mine was:

2 oz. homemade nocino
1 oz. Korbel brandy
dash Fee's grapefruit bitters
dash Fee's Old Fashioned bitters

Tried it first without the Old Fashioned bitters but it needed that extra edge. My nocino has a definite bitterness to it but it's not up there with Cynar.

This went over well - my wife took a sip of mine and demanded one of her own. Good stuff.

#16 EvergreenDan

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 04:38 AM

Does anyone think that the "stirred" in the title of the MxMo is intended to imply no juice (or egg or cream or shaken skittles)? As an unlover of sweet things, that would be a lot harder for me.

I'm looking forward to trying Chris's Brandy/Cynar/Grapefruit bitters idea tonight, although with 2 oz of Cynar, I'm guessing I'm going to want at least 1/2 oz of lemon or maybe a touch of dry vermouth.

Sugar is the enemy.
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#17 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:04 PM

You wanna stir juice, stir juice. :wink:

Bought Carpano Antica Formula today for the first time in RI and have been eager to pop the cork. So I found this one over on cocktaildb.com, and with a name like this, I couldn't say no.

Kill or Cure

DSC00013.JPG

2 oz Carpano Antica Formula
1 oz Fernet Branca

Stir; strain.

It's bitter, it's brown, and damn if it isn't delicious.
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#18 haresfur

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 04:48 AM

Kill or Cure

2 oz Carpano Antica Formula
1 oz Fernet Branca

Stir; strain.

It's bitter, it's brown, and damn if it isn't delicious.


Tried this tonight. Definitely "Cure"
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#19 vice

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 09:54 AM

I've always known that as the Bonzoni, but henceforth it'll be the Kill or Cure. Great name (and drink).
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#20 Dan Perrigan

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 11:36 AM

Kill or Cure

2 oz Carpano Antica Formula
1 oz Fernet Branca


... and if you add a dash of Absinthe and a couple dashes of gomme syrup you get an "Appetizer a l'Italienne" from (The Only) William Schmidt's 1891 "The Flowing Bowl". I bought my first bottle of Fernet Branca a couple weeks ago and this has been in my regular rotation since then.

Dan

#21 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 02:27 PM

How 'bout that. I think that the Bonzoni adds an orange twist, according to Patrick Gavin Duffy and the Rogue/Beta cocktail folks.
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#22 haresfur

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:08 AM

... and if you add a dash of Absinthe and a couple dashes of gomme syrup you get an "Appetizer a l'Italienne" from (The Only) William Schmidt's 1891 "The Flowing Bowl". I bought my first bottle of Fernet Branca a couple weeks ago and this has been in my regular rotation since then.


Keeps getting better IMO although EMP prefers the Kill or Cure.

The Flowing Bowl calls the K or C on the rocks with an orange slice "l'Appetit"
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#23 EvergreenDan

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:56 AM

I you really appreciate the CAF under that big dose of FB? LMNOPQRST sheesh.

Not that it wouldn't be fun trying. :smile:
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#24 EvergreenDan

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:46 PM

I'm in: http://www.kindredco...cktail/bad-seed

Bad Seed

3/4 oz Aquavit
3/4 oz Amaro
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Lemon juice

Shake (ok, stir if you want), strain, rocks
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#25 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 11:27 PM

Without going too much into it, the last 4 months have been a whirlwind. My fiancee completed vet school, we bought a house an hour and a half away from the college town we've conducted our entire courtship in (and 2.5 hrs+ away from either family) and now, 33 days away from our imminent nuptuals, I have recently realised that I have sort of been in a rut at work, creatively. I've come up with a few things here and there, tried other old and new drinks, but all the travelling and planning and being apart has really got me destracted. So, in the spirit of not missing out entirely on a MxMo topic that is near and dear to my heart (if not entirely seasonal for the northern hemisphere), I offer the following tale about something brown and bitter. I hope you find it stirring.

*****


The man who is about to be my father-in-law is a fascinating person. Reclusive yet charming, full of stories, and several lifetimes worth of interesting experiences. At 74, he's about as old as a man can be with a 25 year old daughter, but it really puts him in a different time-frame than most of our friends' parents. His father rose from an enlisted man in the Texas National Guard to a battlefield commission during WW2, staying on in the regular army at war's end, and thus young Roger spent several key formative years living in Japan during the occupation, while his father was a Major in the HQ of some division or the other.

Fast forward a few years and he finds himself in the Army as well, a radio operator for the HQ of one of the armored units tasked with keeping the Soviets from completely overtaking West Germany for 48 hours while NATO regrouped to fight them. They were expected to be essentially annihilated in accomplishing this task, and though 50+ years later the whole thing seems like an abstraction, it was very real to these young men who constantly drilled and never knew when the alarm went off in the middle of the night wether someone would be shooting at them when they rode out into the West German countryside. Naturally, to take their mind of it all, they did a bit of drinking when they could.

Normally this would be accomplished by getting a pass to go into Berlin where they were stationed or travel to whatever other city they could get to. Or by smuggling stuff into the barracks. Roger had a different method. At the time, his father, now a Colonel, was the Military Attache to the US embassy in Yugoslavia, at a time when being that person was a very big deal due to the Cold War power plays at hand. He had arranged for his son to come visit him while on leave, and in order to travel efficiently he procured a civilian passport. At the time, for a soldier overseas to possess one of these was essentially contraband, because it allowed you to come and go from the base at will, no questions asked by the nervous sentries who didn't want to offend important diplomats or government contractors. He was of course supposed to surrender the passport when he returned from his trip. Naturally he didn't.

So one night he has no extra assignments, no guard duty, nothing to make him accountable to anyone on the post, and no pass to go to the city. No problem. A change of clothes, flash the passport to the sentry, and he's free. Doesn't take him long to get into trouble at a bar, where he somehow offends another American serviceman many times his size. The guy is about to beat him to a pulp when he takes his only chance at getting a lick in, socks the dude right in the face, and down he goes.

He's avoided injury, but now its only a matter of time before the MPs show up, and then bad things happen. Suddenly a German woman wearing much jewelry and furs who had been sitting down the bar comes up to him and instructs him to follow her. They go outside where a chauffeured Mercedes awaits and disappear into the night.

She speaks very little English, and he even less German, but they hit it off well and are having a grand time, barhopping around Berlin. Eventually they end up meeting some of her friends at a club where they are sitting at a large table and wouldn't you know they picked up an extra as well. Except this guy isn't an American. Or a Brit. Or a Frenchman. He's a Russian. (Keep in mind this was before the wall, and travel between sectors was not uncommon). And as they sit down there is an instinctive mutual dislike that must be settled. The Russian makes the first move with a thumb to his chest.

"Russiky"

Roger, not to be outdone, motions likewise: "American"

The Russian never takes his eyes off of him but motions a waiter over. "Vodka, two." The drinks come, one for each man, and the Cold War Showdown has begun, right there in a bar in Berlin. They go round for round, the glasses pile up, neither man in any shape to be drinking further, neither willing to admit defeat. The stakes are too high. The contest goes round for round as the night wears on. Things are starting to get really hairy when the Russian, in the motion of knocking back his shot, fall off his chair and passes out on the floor. Score one for the good guys.

The next thing Roger remembers (or related remembering) was waking up the next morning in the German woman's apartment, feeling as though the siege of Stalingrad was being reenacted in his skull. He is as miserable as a man can be and suddenly realises that the time until he is supposed to be on post at muster is near at hand. The German woman comes in with a small oblong item, about the size of a rifle cartridge, wrapped in paper, and a glass of water.

"What is this?"

"Underburg, drink"

He unwraps the bottle, knocks it back, and downs the water. The taste is unlike anything he's ever experienced. So horriffically bitter his brain feels like it is being turned inside out. Fortunately for him, it was already inside out. The effects, both emetic and restorative, are immidiate. Its a miracle. The same Mercedes delivers him back to base where he is just in time to respond when his name is called at muster.

Later that day better judgement prevailed and he managed to destroy the passport. Or so he says.

A true American Hero. Saved by the bitters.
Andy Arrington

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#26 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 11:36 PM

Oh and as a bonus offering, I have a drink too: Not sure if it's bitter enough, and I normally build it on the rocks, but its definitely brown. Playing around with Smith & Cross Rum and thinking about my upcoming trip to New Orleans:

Lafitte's Pardon (working title)

1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Cognac
1 oz Carpano Antica
1 bsp Benedictine
3 dashes Angostura bitters
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Build on rocks and stir or stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist is nice either way.
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#27 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:43 AM

That looks great, Andy -- and thanks for the tale!

Great round of drinks, folks. I'm closing this topic up and will submit the entries to Lindsey. Cheers!
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#28 EvergreenDan

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:50 AM

Thanks, Andy. Fun read. But ... no Underburg cocktail? ;-)
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#29 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 07:17 AM

Thanks, Andy. Fun read. But ... no Underburg cocktail? ;-)


I've bought and used Underburg for medicinal purposes before and it occurred to me that it might work well in place of Angostura in some applications but I've never really played around with it. Mea culpa. I did recently score a bottle of the old Zwack Unicum and it is very similar indeed, to my palate (sort of like a mix between Underburg and Fernet, really), so I may eventually come up with something to use it.
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